For the second time, certified cheese sommelier Harald Weidacher and diploma beer sommelier Victoria Strallhofer from Culinary Craft Tours will taste their way through the regional offerings in the districts of Tyrol in the following blog series and present the best combinations.
With over 30 breweries of various sizes and over 100 different cheese producers (milk processing, direct marketers, alpine pastures), there are many opportunities for exciting and surprising pairings.
For the second part of the blog series, we will take a look at the product range of BIO vom BERG.
At BIO vom BERG, the focus is on quality craftsmanship and regionality.
In addition, it is the only independent producer brand in Central Europe whose brand leadership is still in the hands of the producers.
The ultimate goal is to offer a high-quality and wide range of regional organic products in order to promote the preservation of small-scale Tyrolean mountain agriculture and to contribute to the preservation of the incomparable alpine cultural landscape.
Because sustainable mountain agriculture, controlled organic production and careful processing of food are not only a matter of taste, but also a philosophy of life.
The Starkenberger brewery from Imst is also committed to this philosophy, which works with barley from regional farmers for some of its beer styles.
These, together with crystal clear mountain water from our own spring and its 200-year-old brewery recipe, form the successful basis for a genuine natural product.
The brewery is located not far from Imst in an 11th-century castle. It was built by the Knights of Starkenberg and built at the beginning of the 19th century. It was converted into a brewery in the nineteenth century.
The beer myth of Starkenberg is available to visitors all year round for exploration.
Since August 2022, the brewery's staff has also received female reinforcement: master brewer Katja Zaunberger brings her expertise and passion to the table and prefers to brew a lager. And that has a considerable number of awards in the brewery:
In 2021, the Starkenberger GoldLager achieved first place in the category "Light Lager" with 94 points.
In addition, the beers are always very much at the forefront of the Monde Selection competition.
A total of 11 different beer styles are brewed, with an output of 40,000 hectolitres per year.
For this tasting we work with the following beer styles:
Tyrolean organic cellar beer
Brewed with: Light Pilsner malt and Viennese malt and brewing water
Tastes: malty, full-bodied taste with light coffee and chocolate notes
Brewed with: brewing malt, hops and mountain spring water
Tastes: fruity aromas, clear and amber red color with cream foam
Brewed with: brewing malt, Mühlviertel aroma hops and brewing water
Tastes: balanced, relaxed, taste between lager and pilsner, beer style pale
Bierli - Warehouse
Brewed with: Fisser barley, hops and brewing water
Tastes: tasty, gentle malt body, subtle bitterness
Info: only available at a certain time of the year
Brewed with: barley malt, hops and brewing water
Tastes: full-bodied, balanced, pleasant recession, clear and golden
Brewed with: barley malt, hops and brewing water
Tastes: finely tart and tangy thanks to the hop flower, taste sticks to the palate for a long time
Organic dairy Kolsass
The cheese for our tasting with BIO vom BERG comes from the Organic dairy Kolsass.
In 1929, this dairy was founded as a cooperative operation. She is particularly known for her soft cheese specialities from the experienced hands of the 20-year-old master cheesemaker Sophia Huber and her employees.
In the small-scale business, the focus is on craftsmanship and attention is paid to the highest organic quality. The organic guidelines are strictly followed not only in processing but also in agriculture. In this way, only the best organic hay milk gets into the cheese.
The Kolsass dairy specialises in the production of soft cheeses. In contrast to semi-hard and hard cheeses, this one matures for less time and has a higher water content. It has a fine, mild taste. You can choose from fine Organic Gambrinus, Organic Brie, Organic Kolsasser and Organic Basket Cheese.
Sophia Huber is the production manager at the Kolsass organic dairy. In her work, she appreciates the versatility of the tasks and the independence.
There is a lot of craftsmanship in every cheese and the quality of the cheese specialties produced speaks for itself.
After gaining her first insights into cheese production on a farm, Sophia has never let go of her fascination. With an apprenticeship in Rotholz and Wieselburg, she finally succeeded in becoming a master cheesemaker. Currently, she is able to bring her talent, dedication and passion for the subject of cheese to the dairy on a daily basis.
Their soft cheeses, which are worked exclusively in a round shape, have become their trademark and not only the inhabitants of Kolsass find their way into the somewhat hidden sales room of the dairy.
In a direct comparison of Sophia's cheeses with Starkenberger's beer styles, Victoria and Harald came up with immediate favorites, which we would like to present to you below:
Soft cheese matured for 2-3 weeks, creamy-melting consistency, elegantly mild, slight acidity on the palate, light mushroom aroma with increasing ripening
Info: For the wicker cheese, the finished mass is filled by hand into special baskets, which are also responsible for the naming.
Buck: the honey-like and vinous aromas in bock beer stick to the palate and result in a nice surprise combination with the flavours of the cheese
Hoamatl: an all-round harmonious and beautifully balanced taste affair, the Hoamatl proves to be the most harmonious in combination
Ripe, firm basket cheese with herbs from organic farming;
Thanks to the finest sage and delicate blue petals of the cornflower, visually very appealing with a special aroma
Bierli: this interplay results in a harmonious combination, which, depending on the abundance of the herbs, can also easily become bitter
Bio Perle: the floral components in the beer and the organic brie work well together and create a wonderful overall picture. The slight alcohol content in the pearl even gives the floral aroma of the cheese a boost
Soft cheese with surprise spices consisting of fenugreek, mustard, hops, cumin, onion, wild garlic; characteristic nuances of mushroom, white mold skin provides a round, balanced, piquant aroma
Bio-Kellerbier: There is an unambiguous description for this combination: "fun in the mouth". Here, the cheese remains dominant, but is nicely accompanied by the cellar beer and forms interesting aromas
Creamy soft cheese with Mediterranean herbs and spices such as fresh basil, garlic and tomatoesTip: place thinly sliced on top of tomatoes and enjoy together
Hoamatl: with this combination, the mushroom-like flavors come through more, the sweetness of the malt in this lager harmonizes very nicely with the sweetness in the tomatoes on the rind; a wonderful combination for balmy summer evenings
Basket cheese with sage
This variation of the basket cheese has die-hard fans and rightly so:
The sage tastes more spicy than ethereal and forms an unexpected taste explosion in combination with the creamy soft cheese
Castle: The first impression of a slightly too dominant bitterness is quickly gone and the subsequent sips are already more harmonious
Bio-Kellerbier: this is where the old pairing rule "opposites attract" comes into play - > the aromas of the beer and the cheese don't seem to fit together after the first assessment, but are a real eye-opener and make you want more with every bite.
Tip: the spicier and more unique the cheese, the sooner you can experiment with a beer with a higher alcohol content
According to our cheese sommelier Harald Weidacher, this is a "world cheese":
a balanced ratio of red culture and Camembert mushroom with a bit of paprika and a maturation period of two to four weeks make this slice-resistant cheese made from silage-free organic hay milk a blockbuster of organic dairy
Castle: with a shorter ripening period, the mild aromas of the cheese and the fruity hop flower of the pilsner can work well together
Buck: with a longer maturation period, the mature aromas of Bock beer make more sense
The clear conclusion of this tasting:
How high the quality is in Tyrol in terms of cheese production and beer brewing can be seen once again in the products of Bio vom Berg, which were created in cooperation with the organic dairy Kolsass and the Starkenberger brewery in Imst.
Victoria Strallhofer is a certified beer sommelière and founded Culinary Craft Tours.
On her tours and workshops, she brings people closer to the variety of products of Tyrolean cuisine.
Her favourite beer style: Zwickl, preferably from Tyrol
Next projects: Expansion of tours within the various regions of Tyrol including culinary hikes.
Harald Weidacher is a certified cheese sommelier and teaches at the tourism schools at the Wilder Kaiser in St. Johann in Tirol, course director of training cheese sommelier at schools University of Applied Sciences for Agra and Environment Ober St. Veit Vienna,
His favourite cheese: spicy, intense and, if possible, from Austria
Next projects: further tastings with Victoria ("beer and cheese"), cheese training for the consumer / end user, acquaintance of our wonderful Austrian cheese specialties